Latest News

“TV Journalist Who Stood Up to Russia Sentenced to 8.5 Years in Jail!

On Thursday, a Russian court sentenced journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva to 8.5 years in prison in absentia for “public calls for extremism.” Prokopyeva is a freelance radio journalist and a regular contributor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Her legal troubles began after she made comments about an explosion in Arkhangelsk, Russia in October 2018. During an on-air discussion at a local radio station, Prokopyeva spoke about the incident, which killed several people. She argued that the incident could have been prevented had authorities addressed the concerns of the bomber. Prokopyeva was charged with “public calls for extremism” in April last year, after state investigators accused her of “helping terrorists” and “encouraging them to commit acts of terrorism.” Prokopyeva has consistently denied the allegations and has argued that her comments were intended to encourage free and open debate around issues of terrorism. In March 2020, Prokopyeva held a picket outside the Russian Court of the Northern Administrative District to protest her trial. During the protest, she was detained and charged with the additional crime of “inciting hatred or enmity”. Following the verdict, Prokopyeva explained her protests as an effort to stand without fear of injustice and speak out in the interests of freedom of expression. In a statement posted to her Twitter account, Prokopyeva said: “A sentence of 8.5 years of imprisonment… is an insult to justice, an insult to the world community, an insult to the ideals of humanism and freedom of speech.” Prokopyeva’s supporters claim that her sentence is an example of the Kremlin’s continued suppression of free speech in Russia. Organizations such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have denounced the verdict and called for Prokopyeva’s immediate release. Despite the lack of evidence presented against her, Prokopyeva remains in exile due to Russia’s harsh laws against “extremism”. Her sentence is a stark reminder of the continued struggle of Russian journalists to defend their freedom of expression.

You may also like